Monday, March 28, 2011

Azalea Trail Run 2011

Azalea Trail Run 2011 5K

picture Courtesy
The Azalea Trail Run was set to start at 8:00am Saturday March 26, 2011 in Mobile, Alabama and I was going to run in it. That was the plan.

For those who may not know, Mobile is approximately 45 minutes from my house. Since I had ran in one previous 5k run I understood I needed to arrive a few minutes early to get my registration kit and my bib. Since I know how long it takes to get there and since I had a goal to arrive a few minutes early we made plans to leave the house between 6:00 and 6:30am.

All was going well until we got to the heart of mobile and I realized i had grossly underestimated the size of this event. In my defense the previous race I had run had only had about 250 racers. I did not realize there would be somewhere around 6,000 racers here for this event, nor did I realize that 2 of the major exits for the  Interstate would be backed up for miles.  Fortuanately for me my wife knew her way around Mobile and got us to another exit and we pulled into the Convention Center parking lot at 7:30. Not too bad... except for one thing... The race headquarters was not at the Convention Center, but it was instead at the Civic Center... which was a little more than a half mile away. Even worse I had no idea how to get there.

Never underestimate the kindness of others... I asked a man wearing his race bid where I could go to get mine... not only did he tell me he showed me. The funny thing is he showed me by saying "Follow me!" and starting to run! AT this point I am thinking to myself; "Why are we Running now we will need this energy in about 20 minutes."

Eric Collum
What a perfect number
Finally after a nice warm up run I make my way back to the race course with my race bib on my shirt and I get lined up and ready to run just as the National Anthem began. 8:00 Sharp the first Gun fired and the 10k racers took off while those of us who knew we weren't ready watched the mass of Humanity begin to clog the streets of Mobile.

About 10 Minutes later it was time for the gun to sound and those of us running the 5k were off as well.

According to the official results there were 1614 people who finished the 5k.. I am not sure how many actually started, but as we all begin to try to start running at the same time it was quite the challenge.  the first 100 yards or so it was all about not running over the person in front of you, not getting run over by the person behind you and somehow trying to find some sort of running room to establish some type of pace.

Once everyone was moving it was amazing to look at the crowds of people who were there to support the runners, I made a point to find my beautiful family and point at them as I passed. The great support continued along throughout the race as there were hundreds of people along the road ringing bells and cheering for the passing runners.

One of the coolest scenes I saw was at an intersection that had been closed due to the race. A couple had decided not to sit and their car and bemoan their delay but instead had gotten out of the car and were cheering enthusiastically.

The race course itself was clean, wide, flat, and fast. There were plenty of water stations set up and the path was clearly marked by signs and by local law enforcement and other volunteers.  I thought the organizers did a great job of having the 5k and the 10k go on simultaneously without any problems.

I kept a great pace, though I know I still have room for improvement. AS I neared the finish line and tried to finish strong I noticed the swarms of people who were waiting and cheering on each racer as he or she finished. the next thing I noticed was the giant clock overhead that was showing a number much lower than I expected. I sprinted for the finish line and raised both hands in the air as even though i knew hundreds had finished before me I had just set a new personal best time.   Official Results can be found here. My results are below.

166  Collum Eric W        36 M Vancleave     MS   27:41  8:54    27:16

Special thanks to everyone who made the event great. And an even more special thanks to my wonderful family who got up so very early to go support me.

If I could leave you with just one thought: I love the races; just not the training.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Lenten Adventure

Tonight I am going to post a blog that is not necessarily about weight loss or exercise. I want to talk about the season of Lent. I hope everyone will bare with me I stray off the usual topic.  

I have no intention of delivering any kind of sermon or telling anyone how to follow what ever religion they chose to serve. This is however a blog about the changes in my life and it is my belief that for a person to be truly healthy they have to focus on more than just their physical health. They have to also give the time and effort to their mental and spiritual health as well. As I have been going through the physical transformation in my life I have also been embarking on some pretty awesome spiritual adventures as well.

As a small bit of background. I grew up a Protestant Christian. Mostly from a Southern Baptist background. I was born again when i was a child but like so many I sort of put my religion in it's little box and lived my life believing in God, but not always acting like it. Growing up I was honestly very ignorant about other religions and even other Christian denominations. I regret that i did not have the intellectual curiosity to dig deeper.

I knew a few Catholics in College who observed Lent and it seemed a little strange to me, but this was again due to my ignorance.  I am still not a Catholic and Until this year I still have never observed or truly understood Lent.

I believe fully that God is taking me on a journey and beginning a very big work in my life. I don't know what that work is yet, but I am seeing a lot priorities in my life change and I am feeling the desire more than ever to humbly seek God's presence each and every day.  This year for the first time ever after a lot of prayer and questioning I felt the urge to observe a version of lent. I did discuss this with my pastor and he did offer some insights and a lot of encouragement

I say a version of Lent because from my understanding there are some very strict rules that can be followed but the basic tenets of lent are fasting, giving, & praying. I know there are some people reading this who will surely be able to correct or add to a lot of what I am going to say, however keeping my ignorance in mind here is what I have felt led to in those 3 areas for the 40 day season.

Fasting in the purest sense means giving up food. I know a lot of people instead of giving up the meal in the middle of the day will instead give up a vice or something they are very fond of. The idea is to do without something for 40 days in order to focus more on our relationship with God. My family has decided to give up eating out for Lent. This is a pretty significant thing for us to give up as we tend to eat out several times per week and not only is usually costly, but it is also not always healthy. This also poses another challenge for us as it does require us to actually plan our meals ahead to make sure we have proper provisions. We did agree before Ash Wednesday to make 2 exceptions. We knew we would have to travel to Atlanta for my Brother's wedding and we knew we would have to eat out some through our travels. We actually did pretty well only eating out 2 small times on our trip. The other exception we agreed to make was that once per month my wife and I have a date night. This is a practice we feel is vital to our marriage. it gives us a night away from the kids to enjoy each other's company. Quite Frankly I love her and I look forward to the date nights very very much. Because of how important we feel these are to us we did allow one exception for date night.

On a personal level i really enjoy beer. Now don't get me wrong I don't by a 12 pack of Bud on my way home on Friday and they are all gone by Saturday; that's not me. I am the guy who loves craft beer. I like to try new beer and I like to savor these beers. It may take me 2 weeks to drink a 6 pack, but I thoroughly enjoy it. For Lent I have decided to give up this pleasure. I don't give this up because I feel convicted drinking is wrong; that is a debate for another time. I am giving up beer, because I want to focus the passion and enjoyment I have been taking from the malted hops nand focus instead on prayer and  supplication. This has been harder than I might have thought. Not because I feel any addictive pull toward the bottle but instead because I have had several social situations that would have been Ideal to savor a cold one, but I have refrained. For example usually on each trip to Atlanta I will carry a six pack of Abita or Lazy Magnolia (2 great local brews) to my brother and he will pick up a six pack of brew there that I can't get here and we will spend some time tasting and comparing. This time I did not take a 6 pack nor did I ask him to pick one up.

Instead of these things we are giving up I am trying to devote some extra time each day in prayer. I have so much to be thankful for and I have so much to be forgiven for. I am also on the look out for some way to serve others during this time. One thing we will be doing in this regard is spending a night in a box to raise money and awareness for the homeless. This is an event our church is sponsoring and that Molly and I are glad to be participating in. Here is a link to more information on the event if you would like to join us or sponsor us.

I do not share any of this with you guys because I want you to think I am doing something good and I am certainly not attempting to brag. I have always used this space in an honest manner and I just wanted to share something that was going on in my life.

What am I hoping to gain from this season of Lent? first i hope to have a closer walk with God. Secondly I hope that through this journey God will continue to reveal the work he wants to do in my life.

Thanks for your endurance I have strayed so far from the usual topic, but I hope you will take this opportunity to continue to do what you have always done and keep me accountable.  Just like with Diet and exercise our spiritual walk requires accountability as well.

As always thanks to anyone who may be following along...

If you wish to learn more about lent there are some very good resources on line Here is one. For a more detailed discussion of lent I would recommend contacting the leader of your church. If you don't attend a church regularly and have questions I can refer you to my pastor I am sure he won't mind.... send me a message I will forward you his info..

Friday, March 4, 2011

Resolution Update

In my first blog of the year I laid out my fitness resolutions for 2011. In the interest of accountability I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss where I am achieving those resolutions and what plans I have in place to complete each of them. This also is a good opportunity to evaluate and update my goals for the rest of the year.

When I was looking ahead at 2011 I set forth 4 (actually 5 one of them was a 2 parter) fitness resolutions that I was committed to achieving in 2011.

The first was to complete my quest to lost 100 Pounds. As I am sure everyone has heard; this is a quest I am proud to say I completed on January 26. I am currently at 196lbs which 103lbs lost. I am still watching my calories and wouldn’t mind losing another 10 pounds or so, but I am thrilled with where I am.

The second resolution I set forth is to finish the Insanity fitness program, as I am typing this I have 3 days left. I have missed 2 days of the program as it has progressed but I am proud to say I have worked harder and dug deeper than ever before and I can certainly feel the differences in my body. I plan to finish March out with a bit of a scattershot approach to my workouts I will explain further in my weekly update but I do plan to do Insanity again or possibly P90X as early as April. There is also a new Insanity Program coming out soon called Asylum and I can’t wait to give it a try.

The third and fourth resolution were intertwined as I wanted to run a 5k race before the end of March and a 10k race before the end of the year. I am pleased to say that on February 26th I completed my first 5k. You can read about the entire experience HereI plan to run at least 2 more 5k races as I begin to prepare and look for a 10k to run. I hope to run one in April and another in May or June I will let everyone know as soon as I have found the dates. I have enjoyed running more than I thought I would and I hope when I look at 2012 I can look to run a half marathon or maybe even further.

My final resolution that I set for myself at the time was that I wanted abs. Actually; I think I only said an ab… I have never had abs before and while I know this seems like a silly goal it is a goal I am committed to. Through the running and the insanity workouts I am seeing my mushy mid-section start to tighten up and I think I may have seen the slightest glimpse of my first little abdominal muscle the other night. I still have a long way to go and a lot of work to get there; but how cool will it be if this summer at 36 years old I can for the first time in my life not be ashamed to take my shirt off at the beach or the pool.

I wanted this blog to be a relatively brief update, but I will follow up more on what exercise program I will focus on next and on a few other fitness goals I have for myself going forward.

Also I will try to have a review of Insanity Max Recovery up sometime tomorrow.

 Please also take a minute or 2 and tell me what your fitness goals are and how you are doing and as always thanks to anyone who may be reading.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Insanity Review: Core Cardio & Balance

This workout was first seen during recovery week and is actually a bit of a toned down workout but still very challenging. Since recovery week this workout has been a welcome reprieve once per week in the Insanity regimen This workout is a total of 37 minutes in length. You start out with your warm up, which takes around 7 minutes or so. Even the warm up is scaled down a notch. You have a total of 6 exercises, about 1 minute each. Then you move on to the stretch. The 6 warm up exercises are:
  • Switch Heel Kicks (Kind of like a slow/medium jump rope motion).
  • Mummy Kicks
  • Football Shuffles (Side to side).
  • Over the Log (Run in Place, then jump “over the log” Run in Place, repeat).
  • 8 High Knees/8 Power Jacks
  • 8 Fast Feet/8 Hooks
Following the warm up is the stretch. About 5 minutes total and not as intense as some of the other workouts. 

Now we get into the main workout.
These next 10 moves are all about 1 minute in length. Shaun T always gives a brief description about each move, so you get about a 10-15 second break in between each.
  • Moving Ski Hops (Jumping 4 hops to the left, and then 4 back to the right, repeat).
  • Hit the Floor (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • Level 1 Drills (4 push ups, 8 run in place, repeat).
  • Heisman (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • 8 Switch Kicks/8 Hop Squats
  • High Jumps (Standing stationary, jumping as high as you can each jump).
  • Moving Plank Walk (in a push up stance, walking to the left, maintaining plank, then back again, repeat).
  • 8 Elbows/4 Suicide Drills
  • 4 & 4 Hops (on one leg, one knee up, hop 4 times, jump over, and repeat on the other leg).
  • 8 Jabs/Jumps & Turn/8 Jabs
After this 2 minutes we get to a segment of the workout that is different from anything else on Insanity. we have isolated moves that are designed to burn and strengthen individual parts of the body:

This next exercise is  called Hip Flexor Burners. It’s a 3 part exercise. The first move you raise your knee parallel with your waist, then back down to the ground. Repeat for 30 seconds. The next move has you doing the same thing, but it’s called “pulses” and your foot never touches the ground. And then the last move is a kick added to the end. Each section is 30 seconds. Once you complete one leg, you switch to the other.  These truly Burn.

Oblique Knee Lifts. Arm Up, raise your knee (out and to the side) and bring your elbow down at the same time. 30 seconds each side.

The last move is a real challenge...
Shoulder Burners in Plie. This is a 3 minute series of exercise all done from a deep squat, with your knees wide, toes pointing outward. The first move you hold your arms out straight and move them up and down like you are flying.  Next, your straight arms go from the sides to the front, back to the sides.  The next move has your arms going straight up over head and back down   Next you begin backwards circles, and then finally forward circles.  

Finally we get the cool down and stretch which lasts about 2 minutes. Even this is toned down but very good